Horse lovers of all ages are getting ready for this year’s Midsummer Fun Ride at the Mare & Foal Sanctuary.
The annual event on Sunday, June 24th – at the charity’s Coombe Park Visitor Centre near Totnes – attracts riders of all abilities, from children on lead reins to endurance riders.
And it takes them – in staggered groups – around eight miles of tracks through the woods of the beautiful Berry Pomeroy estate.
Last year the annual ride raised more than £2,380 for the charity, which rescues and rehomes injured, weak and unwanted ponies, horses and foals from throughout the region.
Linette, one of the riders taking part last year, said it had been a fantastic atmosphere, with several new friends made along the way.
She said: “It’s always a great event. You get to meet loads of people and we had a real laugh with the other riders. It’s hard to find decent bridleways and hacks these days, which is why events like this are so important.”
The charity has been running two annual group rides every year around the estate – on Valentine’s Day if the ground is good and the closest weekend to the longest day – for the past 10 years.
Visitor Centre Manager Vanessa Apicella said: “They’re great events for the South West’s riding community, especially with so few bridleways remaining open. Riders get the chance to stretch their horses’ legs, as well as meet new people and enjoy the glorious scenery around the estate’s great woods and pathways.
“We are so grateful to the estate for letting us ride there and we really hope more people than ever take part this year. You don’t even have to have a horse or pony. Last year a 101-year-old lady came along just to watch the horses set off and enjoy the lovely atmosphere.”
To book a place on the fun ride, find out about other events at the Coombe Park Visitor Centre or to see some of the ponies and horses available for rehoming, visit the Sanctuary’s website at www.mareandfoal.org